#Project2016 | Six Months In

Wednesday 15 June 2016

So, six months into 2016. That’s gone fast, right?

It seemed timely now to re-evaluate the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year for my #Project2016 series. 

I’ll be totally honest, I know I’ve neglected some of them dreadfully. But there’s still time to get back on track, and that’s what I’ll do.

I shared posts on why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work, how to set goals that stick, how to find motivation and even what my personal goals for 2016 were. Now it's time to face the music and look at what I need to work harder on.

My goals were divided into three categories - Activate, which was about healthy living, is where I have definitely done the worst. Streamline was about bringing organisation to a busy life and that’s also been hit and miss. Experience, which was all about creating great new memories, is the one where I've made the most progress. I’m not surprised because it's also the most fun!

Why have I been lagging behind? 

Well, to put it simply, I've been lazy and a bit overwhelmed. I've been in the new mother bubble of unreality - on maternity leave, enjoying my little son and out of a normal routine. 

On top of that, I've als been battling the usual chronic tiredness and disorder that comes with a baby. But although these things are valid setbacks, I am responsible for letting them turn into excuses, and I don't like that.


The Goal: Educate myself about clean eating

A partial yes. I have learnt a lot about both clean eating and intermittent fasting, which is the only diet method that’s really worked for me in the past. But sometimes I’m guilty of using learning about something as a reason not to actually do it, like I can’t possibly start until I'm an expert in all the theory. But usually the best learning is done on the job!

The Action: Accept learning is a continuous process and that it's okay not to be an expert. Learn while doing. Don’t let my imperfect knowledge become a barrier to progress.

The Goal: Work on a consistent fitness routine

I’ve been much better at this and I’ve really made progress. I've found new exercise that works for me now and I've adopted it fairly consistently. Im now going to Buggyfit classes twice a week - they've been a great way of finding something I can do without being apart from Theo. Ive also been running in the early mornings, before Theo wakes up. This works very well for me - although getting up early after a night of broken sleep with the baby can be hard, I definitely have more energy to exercise in the morning. If I wait until the evening I’m too worn out and more likely to put it off. So I have found ways that work for me and been okay about sticking to them, but sometimes I still get in a negative spiral where I don’t exercise for a week.

The Action: Now I’ve found what works, I simply need to do more of it. I need to ensure I am doing a little something each day. I’m adopting the mantra ‘30 minutes or 3 miles a day’. Its not a huge amount but it's do-able for me, and that’s crucial. So each day I have to pick from one of the options that works for me: a 3 mile run outside, 30 minutes in the gym, a Buggyfit session or a 30 minute home workout using the Fitness Blender channel that streams free workouts you can do in your living room. It's not long to take out of my day but it means I’m doing something for my health each day.

The Goal: Lose the baby weight and feel good about myself again 

This one is very much a work in progress. I have lost 13 pounds from my post-birth weight but there’s still a way to go. I feel I’m in danger of just giving up sometimes, but then I also have moments of panic that I’ll never feel like myself again. It has been a much longer process than I imagined, but I think the key here is to be kind to myself. After all, my body did something pretty amazing, and it did it well. I’m not a supermodel so it's not my job to be in a size six months after giving birth! Still, I do owe it to myself and my son to feel healthy and good about myself.

The Action: Be kind to myself. Don’t allow slip-ups to become a big spiral of negativity. Accept I’m on the right track and just need to continue that way. It may take time but the end is in sight. I’ve dropped some weight and nourished a beautiful baby. Now I just need to take it up a notch.

The Goal: Respect my body by fuelling it the right way

I've failed miserably at this. I’ve let myself fall into what I call the ‘new mother diet’, where you are so damn sleep-deprived and tired, not to mention busy looking after the baby that you just shovel in quick easy things, like cake, crisps and white bread. Things that you can eat with one hand, without thinking. Therein lies a big problem. Ive also been guilty of boredom eating, Being stuck at home can get a little stifling at times, and I've been using food as an ‘event’ to give my day a focus. This needs to stop. For one, it makes me sad. I’ll catch myself shovelling down biscuits with one hand and barely even tasting them. That strikes me almost as self-abuse. I am not looking after myself or treating myself right when I do things like that and certainly not respecting the body that has done so much for me.

The Action: Refocus on my diet. Learn to recognise my boredom eating triggers and find out how to control them. Remind myself why I need to respect my body. Get better at food prep so temptation to snack isn’t as strong.

The Goal: Look after my health and wellbeing

Slightly patchy! I've certainly been doing some of the right things, but not enough of them to see real changes. I know I need to look after my health for my sake and for Theo’s sake. He deserves a healthy, happy, active mother who doesn’t hate her body. So it's important to get things right before they turn into big issues further down the line.

The Action: Step up my existing fitness regime, adopting the maxim of 3 miles or 30 minutes per day. Stop letting learning become an excuse for not eating cleanly. Be kind to myself and don't let a setback become a total fail. Tackle boredom eating and get on top of my food prep.


The Goal: Create new morning and evening routines that work with the baby

This one has been a success. When you have a newborn, chaos rules for the first month or so. You're getting to know each other and settling into a major learning curve. Its best just to embrace the madness for this time, otherwise it can send you crazy. But eventually, you need to get new routines sorted. We now have clear morning and bedtime routines for Theo they work well. They have allowed us to get our sanity back a bit. Its definitely not one size fits all, so figuring out what works for him was definitely a process, but I feel we’re in a good place with it now.

The Action: Keep on with what's working right now, but look ahead to my going back to work. Plan how this might affect our routines. Work with Theo’s new nursery to keep good habits going.

The Goal: Cleanse and manage my digital world

Our digital worlds are a massive part of our lives these days, but I feel like when it comes to organisation, they can often get overlooked. Shutting a laptop to swerve some disorder is much easier than stepping over a big pile of unsorted mail on the doorstep. But that doesn’t mean untidiness in our digital worlds doesn’t impact on our frame of mind. There were three things I meant to do with this goal. 1) Organise and sort the looming chaos of my personal inboxes - delete unwanted mail, unsubscribe from mailing lists I shouldn’t be on etc 2) Continue good practices I had established with work email - parcelling my time up, keeping structured project folders, replying immediately with a holding message to keep from long email chains forming, having ‘inbox zero’ each day 3) Creating a posting schedule for promoting the blog on social media channels. I haven’t been good on any of these fronts. My personal inbox is a wasteland of unorganised junk mail. My social media efforts for the blog have lapsed to almost nothing. And I’m not at work currently, so I haven’t been able to keep to my good email habits there.

The Action: Start my personal inbox cleanse this week -  it needn't take long and I’ll feel better for it. Take 20 minutes to sort it instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds! Set up a small but manageable post promotion schedule and rejoin some Twitter chats. Stick to my clean email approach when I start back at work next month.

The Goal: Start a bullet journal

For a while now, I've been very interested in the idea of bullet journalling. It seems like a good secondary habit that could help me to keep track of my goals. But I haven’t started it yet, partly because a lot of it didn't seem necessary when I'm not at work. That was a mistake. My work has been the home, the baby and some blogging, so I could easily have benefitted from this approach anyway.

The Action: Get in the supplies to start bullet journalling. Experiment with some layouts that work.

The Goal: Develop a capsule wardrobe 

Another thing I got really interested in at the start of the year was the idea of a capsule wardrobe. It really appealed to me as a way of simplifying my life once I went back to work. I have read up on it a lot, but not really put it into practice.

The Action: Work out my capsule work wardrobe for my return to the office at the end of July.

The Goal: De clutter my life

I must admit I have pack rat tendencies. I put a lot of emotion into objects that I shouldn’t, and left to my own devices I would probably hang on to lots of things that I don't really need. In 2016, as time got more pressured when I became a working mother, I meant to address that. And I have taken several really positive steps. I went through my wardrobe and dressing room and sorted out clothes to donate, clothes to sell via eBay or DePop and clothes that I wanted to keep. Then I reorganised my wardrobe. I also sorted out my make-up hoard and threw away anything I wasn’t using or that was out of date. This felt amazing and really got me hooked on regular cleanses.

The Action: Keep making regular cleanses a part of my life. Go through my wardrobe to see what can be donated every six months. Make each new purchase mindful and considered rather than emotional and reactive.

The Goal: Address and break my negative financial habits 

I’ve come such a long way from the irresponsible person I used to be who had store cards and didn’t open her bank statements. I have a low LTV mortgage, no unsecured debt and savings now, and I’ve learnt a lot about good financial habits. However, I know there are still some areas where my tendencies are not great, and they need to be checked before they have the potential to create any problems.

The Action: Although I haven’t been bad with money, I’ve also been in a sort of limbo since the baby that’s meant I haven’t also been that great either, I've just sort of been ticking along. Now I need to make sure I’m addressing this one. I plan to do this by making sure that I practice what I call ‘hygienic spending’ - asking myself some key questions before I buy anything to make sure I really need it and am not just spending for the sake of it.

The Goal: Attack clutter hotspots in the house on the regular 

We have those black spots in the house that just seem to act as complete clutter magnets. Yours could be a drawer in the kitchen or the cupboard under the stairs. That one area that just seems to get all manner of junk and becomes a black hole for items with no home to go to. I vowed to make tackling these spots a regular event in my schedule. For me, these spots are: a drawer in my coffee table, an ottoman in my living room, my bedside cabinet and my wardrobe.

The Action: I have made organising these areas a mission, but I need to make them more of a regular event. I will diarise these tasks into my planner. I reckon they need a big clear out every six months, so I will need to make sure I go around them again before the end of the year.


The Goal: Plan our first family holiday

Family memories are so important, and I really wanted us to make a great one by going on holiday with our little boy. Travelling abroad with a baby was quite intimidating to me, so I wanted to make sure I faced my fears about it and planned a great trip. Well, we ended up having a brilliant holiday to Italy. It went so well, we are thinking about taking another short trip away just before I go back to work.

The Action: Look for another short holiday opportunity before re-starting work.

The Goal: Take regular days out with the baby

I wanted to make sure I made the most of my maternity leave by taking some nice day trips with Theo while I was off work. This is a nice goal to have, although I have found that the daily grind sometimes gets in the way of the best laid plans. We have really enjoyed day trips and picnics and tried a couple of great restaurants but the lack of nice summer weather has held us back a little bit.

The Action: Take two nice days out before I go back to work. Seize on any nice weather as a chance to have a picnic! Take the family out for a couple of nice meals over the next few weeks.

The Goal: Make time for myself and friends occasionally

This one almost sounds silly, expect when you have a small child and friends who live scattered all over the country, it's a lot harder than expected. I wanted to make sure I didn’t let the life changes I've been through distance me too much from my good friends. But unfortunately, I haven’t been good at this one. I haven't seen very much of my friends at all, and when I have the effort has been on their part, like coming to Theo’s christening. I actually haven’t left him for longer than 20 minutes with anyone else, which I'm a bit concerned might have made him clingy.

The Action: Plan a couple of nice things with my friends away from Theo to get him used to some time apart before he starts nursery. Schedule in an evening out with my mummy friends, recruit Granny to babysit while Seb and I go out for dinner and plan a spa day with my two oldest girlfriends to reconnect.

The Goal: Tackle my home improvement projects - garden makeover phase one, refit family bathroom, create dressing room

In November 2014, we moved into a house that could only be described as a ‘project’. It had previously been rented out as three flats, so there was quite a long list of things that needed doing to make it into the family home of our dreams. After a lull when Theo first arrived, we have made good progress. Our new family bathroom is so near to being complete (I can’t wait to do a post on it), Theo’s nursery was done before he arrived, and all the woodchip is gone from the house! We’ve also made some headway on the garden, adding in a patio, a flowerbed and a raised vegetable bed. But there’s still such a long list of things to be done.

The Action: Plan out the dressing room and start buying pieces to organise it. Continue with the garden makeover. Find a joiner to price up adding a new porch area. Find a new bed for the master bedroom and one for the guest room. Price up shutters for living room. Find a second sofa for the living room.

The Goal: Respect my ‘beauty MOT’

Looking good is feeling good to me, so I wanted to make a priority of my beauty basics. After having a baby, you really don't feel yourself and it's easy to let ‘me time’ slip. It's easy to get caught up in a negative self-image where you end up not liking yourself because you've changed and you no longer have much time to look after yourself. So I pledged that I would make time for what I call my beauty MOT. This could be different for everyone but for me it meant going to the salon for a manicure once a month (I have the horrible habit of biting my nails, so keeping them groomed helps me not to) and making time once a week for a bath with a face mask and a conditioning hair mask, making sure I looked after my skincare each day rather than just using a baby wipe to take off mascara before bed and tackling my hair removal and pedicure once every two weeks at home. I must admit I've failed here. I sit here with unpainted toenails, and I haven't had a manicure or a face mask in weeks. I'm not feeling good!

The Action: Book an appointment at the nail salon. Get back to a weekly Sunday night ritual with my face and hair care. Sort my feet out for summer!

There you have it, Project 2016 so far. Some things I am proud of - like the weight I've lost so far, having taken our family holiday and done some major house projects. 

Other areas need serious work, like my email inbox, beauty regime and my eating. If I can use this progress check to keep going and pick up the pace in areas where I've fallen behind I could still get there.

What are your 2016 goals? Have you been sticking to them? Do you have any tips that have worked brilliantly for you? Let me know! 

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